It appears Apple has decided to let Jony Ive and Craig Federighi make the rounds with media today ahead of tomorrow’s official launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c. Apple’s head of design and software chief joined CEO Tim Cook for a wide-ranging interview this morning published in Bloomberg Businessweek, USA Today has now published its own interview with the pair that mostly focuses on Apple design guru, Jony Ive.

In the interview, Ive expands on his thinking behind design changes in iOS 7 and the removal of skeuomorphism, noting that, “there was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally”:

“When we sat down last November (to work on iOS 7), we understood that people had already become comfortable with touching glass, they didn’t need physical buttons, they understood the benefits,” says Ive. “So there was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally. We were trying to create an environment that was less specific. It got design out of the way.”

Ive continued by showing off iOS 7’s new translucent Notification Center: “Look at that,” says Ive. “The lovely thing about translucency is you’re not sitting there going, ‘Where have I just been taken?’ because your world is still there.” Federighi added: “Before, the shadowing effect we used was a great way to distract from the limitations of the display. But with a display that’s this precise, there’s nowhere to hide. So we wanted a clear typography.”

Ive and Federighi also discussed the new camera system in the iPhone 5s with Federighi pointing out that other “companies are chasing megapixels” while Apple is focused on delivering a better photo taking experience. Ive agrees, noting, “This is terribly important and at the heart of what we do. We care about how to design the inside of something you’ll never see, because we think it’s the right thing to do.”

What would Jony be doing if he was no longer needed at Apple? Designing cups perhaps? Ive avoids giving a direct answer but tells the publication that “It feels like we’re just getting started”:

“Look at that chair, we understand it because its form and function are the same thing, which is how the manufactured world has been for hundreds of years,” he says in a soft British accent. “And then incredibly and relatively recently, there’s this opportunity but with a set of problems to create objects whose forms don’t hint at what they do. And they’re packed with incredible sophistication and capability.”….”It all feels so new and all-consuming,” Ive, 46, tells USA TODAY. “It feels like we’re just getting started.”

And if that next new and better thing really and truly couldn’t be a technological device, Sir Jonathan, what would it be instead? Ive mulls. “I’d like to design cups.” Cups? “Cups.” With handles or without? “Ah,” he says with a grin. “That’s for me to know.”

You can check out the full interview on USA Today. 

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Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.